Asking For A Salary Increase

For most of us, negotiating a salary increase can be daunting, especially in these uncertain times post-pandemic. The potential foreseen awkwardness surrounding asking your boss for a pay increase is often enough of a deterrent for most people to avoid the conversation entirely. The average manager / boss can be known to forget to bring this up with their team. If they haven’t hired in a while, they could also be disconnected from the going market rates too. So, you need to take it into your own hands.

We have taken some points from Rebecca Shambaugh’s book: It’s not a glass ceiling, it’s a sticky floor. Rebecca’s advice is to remember a four-step framework: Assess your situation, understand your counterpart, be effective in asking and have a backup plan.

Assess Your Situation

Take some time to build your evidence. Think creatively here – it’s not just about the everyday. Meeting targets and KPIs is not ‘value add’. You need to put yourself in your boss’ shoes for a minute and consider what’s going to be of most value to them. Organise a specific time to meet. Before your meeting, work out what would make you happy and continue to feel valued, not necessarily purely monetarily. Do your research on market salaries for similar roles with your responsibilities, and how they’ve changed over the time you’ve been at the company using resources like Payscale and Salary Explorer to get a feel for the industry average salary of people with job scopes similar to yours, or for the title you want. This way, you have an actual number or per cent in mind which you can ask for.

Some phrases you can use are:

  • “I want to talk about growing my responsibilities and review some of my recent wins with you…”
  • “I’d like to sit down and get some feedback on my performance, could we find some time? If it’s ok with you, I’d also like to discuss my compensation at the end”

Understand Your Counterpart

Salaries are often the responsibility of a number of people, so try to understand your manager’s ability to give you that raise and how you might be able to help them get you what you want. Map out what you’re earning now as this will affect how digestible market rates might feel to your boss. It’s in the company’s best interest to keep you paid at market rate. If you’re underpaid, you’re a poaching target for competitors so stand your ground with your salary increase request.

Some phrases you can use are:

  • “I’m aware that the market currently pays higher than my compensation”
  • “Based on my research, the industry norm pays…”

Be Effective In Asking

The conversation itself can be awkward but it’s important that you and your manager have an honest discussion. Before your meeting, be prepared with examples of how you’ve contributed and why you deserve an increase. You don’t need to list all those reasons if the conversation doesn’t warrant it. It’s better if you can get your manager doing most of the talking, convincing themselves you’re due for an increase. Put yourself in your boss’ shoes and ask yourself “Why do I deserve a salary increase?”. Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for and ask for it – remember your evidence and keep it clear and succinct.

Some phrases you can use are:

  • “Over the last few months, I delivered…which drove X in revenue”
  • “I’m really proud of the fact that I’ve consistently gone above and beyond by…”
  • “Some of the feedback from others has been….

Have A Backup Plan

Sometimes the timing just isn’t right for a company to grant you a pay rise. Think about what else would make you happier in your job. Remember to be open minded – there are rewards other than money such as representation on a major project, increased responsibilities that will expose you to new skills (and make you more marketable), flexible work conditions, improved equipment, stock options, more annual leave, a title change that could eventually set you up for an increase in pay later.

Don’t expect too much, don’t plead and don’t become confrontational. Also, make sure it’s the right time – You can have the best plan in the world, but if you try to impact your boss when they’re not receptive, you most likely won’t get the outcome you’re hoping for.If all else fails, try to agree another review/discussion in three months time.

Some phrases you can use are:

  • “I’m curious….”
  • “Is that number flexible at all?”
  • “What would it take…is there a better time for us to have this conversation in the near future?”